Grandma and Grandpa had a hand water pump on their kitchen sink. It was fun to pump water and Grandma seemed to never grow tired of watching me pump it for her! The water came from their cistern that was filled by collecting rainwater from their roof. That water was fairly safe to drink back then!
Grandma and Grandpa were married in 1914 and lived through some interesting times. Imagine living through two world wars and the Great Depression. Their values and expectations in life were conservative, to say the least. Grandma and Grandpa were great examples of hard work, integrity, and honesty. They lived long and healthy lives.
The world has changed in so many ways since then as it quickly grows. Today the world population is over 7 billion. Some believe the earth can safely support 2 billion people, which is what lived here in 1900. Predictions are we will be at more than 30 billion by the end of this century.
The impact to the earth of an increasing population to 30 billion is mind-boggling considering the damage that has been done already. One important area of concern is the ongoing pollution of our drinking water.
Over 50 million chemicals have been found or made already and the speed of development of new ones is increasing. It took 33 years to get the first 10 million chemicals registered and nine months to get the last 10 million chemicals into the American Chemical Society database.
Our 7 billion population steadily pollutes the worldwide water supply with sewage. Every day, over 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water, which is the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population.
Untreated sewage causes infectious waterborne diseases that are the number one killer of children under five years old. More people die from unsafe water annually than from all forms of violence, including war!
The pollution impact from increased populations today also includes garbage in landfills and even oceans, lakes, and streams. An example is more than 270,000 tons of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. That’s more than 5 trillion pieces, which does not include plastic wastes on the ocean floors.
One of the most common plastic pollutants is plastic water bottles, which require over 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce.
Experts suggest avoiding plastics with BPA, the endocrine-disrupting chemical linked with cancer and lower testosterone. Of course, our “healthy” drinking water is typically sold in plastic bottles with BPA. An example of plastics leaching into a plastic bottle is to set a half-full drinking water bottle out in the sun on a hot day and then taste the water. Consider not swallowing that water!
Many aluminum cans are coated internally with BPA, which is designed to prevent aluminum from leaching into our food and drinks. A direct and immediate effect of BPA is an increase in systolic blood pressure spikes of 4.5 points.
Improving the quality of the world’s water supply will require improved awareness and increased responsibility. Many of the improvements are out of our control; however, there are things we can do locally. Reducing overall chemical usage helps.
For instance, rainwater washes chemicals from our lawns and streets into stormwater that ends up in Salt Creek and flows to the Platte River where our drinking water comes from. Our treated sewage effluent also dumps into Salt Creek. We reap what we sow!
Quality water is vital to good health. Our bodies are 60% water. If we lose even 1% of body weight in fluids, we are clinically dehydrated. A rigorous one-hour workout can cause us to lose nine pounds of sweat.
We can control the quality of our drinking water in our homes or businesses by installing Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) systems. The R.O. system is a small unit that is typically installed under the kitchen sink for approximately $550.00 including an additional faucet. R. O. systems remove harmful chemicals and provide healthy drinking water. It’s also good for cooking and crystal-clear ice.
On a personal note, thanks to everyone that voted for John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, and Air’s to allow us to win the Lincoln Journal Star 2015 Best of Lincoln first place in Plumbing and also Heating and Air Conditioning, plus second place in Customer Service. Those awards indicate the wonderful people in our community value the important things in life. Thank you for caring!